Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Experiencing Nature

Should environmental law be concerned with access to and engagement with nature? This question is complex and deep, and it requires us to draw on connections I hope to discuss in this forum. 

Despite evidence to the contrary, it has been argued that today’s young people are not interested in saving the environment. On the other hand, as several of this blog’s editors have reported, an understanding of nature is essential to visioning environmental protection, if only because environmental literacy has potential to direct the course of social norms.

When it comes to survival and well-being, humans depend on the workings of nature and are beginning to value it as such.  One poll suggests that a majority of voters place a high priority on protecting nature’s ability to support life, provide benefits such as food and clean air and water, and protect from natural hazards such as floods and hurricanes. Perhaps there is something more subtle and sublime attained by our own personal experiences in nature.   Nancy Wells, an environmental psychologist at Cornell University, has studied differences in children that may be influenced by access to nature and argues for an association between interaction with nature and the ability to cope with adversity. 

My friend Troy Payne explains that experience also allows us to believe in nature – knowing without fully understanding that we are subject to the prerogative of nature.  He spends a great deal of his time remembering what that means through experiences in and with nature. Troy has captured a spectacular array of sounds, visions, and poetry in his multi-media presentations.  It seems Troy has hit upon something quite important, and you can decide for yourself whether you agree by visiting his artistic and engaging work with Black Lantern Synergy

- Keith Hirokawa

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